“What does a leader do…?” was the unfinished question a young man posed to me.
“To do…?” I replied looking for more from him. Sheepishly he completed the thought with “to become a good / strong leader”.
This isn’t what he wanted to know. Like many men, we ask general questions expecting to get general answers hoping that some nugget of gold will be exposed that can give us a start or insight or breakthrough.
I called the bluff.
I said (in love because I know and care for this young man), “You are posing.” He responded with a somewhat incredulous look coupled with shock and a grin.
I explained that poses can big or little and pressed further. “What are you really asking me?” He finally said, “How do I become a better leader?”
This questions was key because he admitted that he needed something (which most men hate doing). He was looking for something. He didn’t know how to find it. And most importantly, this ‘thing’ mattered to him.
What did I do here? I helped him see that his heart’s true desire mattered, and how common and easy it is for posing (pretending) to take place.
Posing is a facade men create big and and small to cover areas of insecurity, pain, and fear. Our posing is dangerous because it covers what we actually need and desire deep within out heart and if continued can create a reality that we really think is true–when it’s not.
The simplest is example is the man who always says, “I’m fine”, when he’s not. If said over and over, he’ll start to believe that he is fine when in fact he’s angry, or exhausted, or full of guilt or whatever. And so the pose of “fine” is now linked to the darkness inside and normalized.
The end result? A man doesn’t know what he wants or needs. He doesn’t know who he is. And what’s worse, he doesn’t know how to ask for help to get these answers that he’s really desperately seeking and needing.
The hope? Seeing God approach us with tenderness and focus like a father would kneel before his hurting child…and going straight for the heart. He’s done this with me countless times which is why I did this with the young man in this story.
The best picture of this is how Jesus pushed passed the (religious) pose of the blind man in Luke and went after the man’s heart. “What do you want…?” The blind man now had to choose. Will I open my heart again to me (many men have shut out their own heart to themselves long ago) and to this man that I hope can help?
That man wanted to see. Jesus helped draw this out. And what he saw first was the Light of Life standing before him.
And to be honest, I believe that’s what we’re all really looking for.
What is the true need within your heart? Don’t mask it. Ask it.